Russian Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has announced that the criminal case against Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov will be shut down due to a lack of evidence that he participated in the crime at hand. Kolokoltsev also said he will fire two high-ranked municipal police officers whose subordinates participated in the case, including the official in charge of narcotics control in Moscow. The law enforcement officials who arrested, examined, and questioned Golunov will not be fired, but those who arrested him will be forced to take a temporary leave of absence while their action are investigated. That investigation will be transferred from the Internal Affairs Ministry’s internal investigative division to Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Golunov will be freed from house arrest before the end of the day. In his statement, Kolokoltsev did not comment on the fact that the drugs found among Golunov’s possessions must have come from someone apart from Golunov.
The full statement, which was posted on the Internal Affairs Ministry’s website, is translated below:
“The results of biological, criminal, fingerprinting, and genetic testing have led to a decision to cease the criminal prosecution of the civilian Ivan Golunov due to a lack of evidence that he took part in committing a crime. Today, he will be freed from house arrest, and the charges against him will be cleared.
“The materials for an internal investigation [within the police] will be transferred from the internal security division of the Internal Affairs Ministry of Russia to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the purpose of evaluating the validity of the actions taken by the police officers who arrested the civilian. They will be temporarily released from their duties during the course of the investigation.
“I have made the decision to petition the President of the Russian Federation to release from their duties the head of the Moscow Internal Affairs Division of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry’s Moscow City Branch, Police Major General Andrey Puchkov, and the head of the Division for Control of the Narcotics Trade within the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry Moscow City Branch, Yury Devyatkin.
“I believe that, regardless of their professional affiliation, the rights of any citizen should always be protected.”